By Pat Forrest

If the cooler temperatures have you rummaging through your winter coats (and maybe even thinking about purging some), the folks at Gear Up for Outdoors have a deal for you. Everyone who drops off a clean, gently used, winter jacket for adults, infants, or children before December 18 will receive a 15% discount on a new insulated jacket and will be entered in a draw to receive one of six $100 gift cards to The Keg Steakhouse and Bar.

All of the jackets brought in will be donated to those less fortunate in our community to help them stay warm during the winter months. Precious Bundles receives all children’s clothing while Shelter House, Grace Place, and Clothing Assistance receive the coats for adults.

Gear Up for Outdoors owner Jon Wynn says that his staff initiated this project over 10 years ago with the help of the co-owners of The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. “Our staff wanted to do something for the community and given the harshness of our winters, a coat drive seemed a good place to focus our efforts,” he says.

While the need is great across all age groups, Wynn states winter clothing for infants and children is most urgently required. In addition to coats, people drop off homemade mittens and hats and financial donations. Local businesses promote the drive to their staff and the region gets involved with McCausland Hospital in Terrace Bay serving as a collection point for the North Shore communities and Courtesy Courier delivering the donations to Gear Up for distribution.

With the need growing, Wynn hopes that the community’s response will continue to be strong. “Last year two grade eight girls from Edgewater School collected over 102 jackets. It was a gesture typical of the generosity that people have shown,” he says. Last year, 1014 jackets were collected and distributed.

Winter coat donations can be dropped off at Gear Up for Outdoors located at 894 Alloy Place.